Jackson State and Mississippi State will face each other on the football field for the first time during the 2009 season, JSU coach Rick Comegy confirmed this afternoon. The game will be held in Starkville.
Further details were unavailable. JSU athletic director Bob Braddy would not comment. MSU spokesman Mike Nemeth would not comment and MSU athletic director Greg Byrne did not return a phone message seeking comment. Messages left with JSU president Ronald Mason were not immediately returned.
An official announcement is expected to be made on Tuesday at 1 p.m., during MSU coach Sylvester Croom’s weekly news conference.
JSU, which plays in the NCAA’s Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA), has twice played Southern Miss, one of Mississippi’s three Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) teams. And while JSU has played Mississippi State and Ole Miss in other sports, it has never played either of Mississippi’s Southeastern Conference teams in football.
The JSU game is expected to take the place of Louisiana Tech on the MSU schedule. Tech — which beat State 22-14 on Aug. 30 in Ruston, La., — would move to the 2012 schedule.
Securing games against Division I-A games has been a priority for Jackson State. The Southwestern Athletic Conference switched from an eight- to seven-game league format this year, with the hope that schools would schedule an additional nonconference game — preferably a “pay” game, where schools can make up to $200,000 to $300,000.
JSU was unable to lock in one of those games in 2007.
“I just think it’s a great opportunity to get a game like this and I appreciate Coach Croom and the administration to give us an opportunity to finally play a big game like this,” JSU’s Comegy said. “I think it’ll be a recruiting tool as well.
“I’m hoping that it turns into another payday with one of the other big schools either in state or out of state.”
Money games haven’t been abundantly available for SWAC teams.
Grambling, the most nationally recognized program in the league, received $275,000 to play Nevada this year, according to a database compiled by the Des Moines Register. Houston paid Southern $225,000 to come to town. Alabama A&M made $175,000 from Louisiana-Monroe. Alcorn State was paid $250,00 to travel to New Mexico State this season and will earn $150,000 to play Southern Miss in 2009.
JSU athletic director Bob Braddy has said in the past that those type of numbers weren’t very appealing to him.
“A big money game to us would be something in excess of $350,000 that would allow us to bring home after expenses $300,000 or more,” he said. “That’s the kind of guarantee we’re looking for.”
The financial arrangements for the JSU-MSU game were not available.
Mississippi State paid I-AA Southeastern Louisiana $150,000 for coming to Starkville in September.